Northern Ireland’s largest car dealer group, Charles Hurst, has been awarded an Autism NI Impact Award. The company have achieved the accreditation ahead of National Autism Hour 2018.
Charles Hurst will mark the introduction of their autism friendly practices through participation in the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour from 6th – 13th October during the hours of 10am – 11am.
Autism Hour will include dimmed lighting, low-level music and the reduction of other external noises, to provide a sensory friendly experience.
Autism is a lifelong condition which affects the development of social and communication skills. It can affect the way an individual relates to people, situations and the environment. There are approximately 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK.
Charles Hurst staff undertook extensive autism awareness training and have established ‘Autism Champions’ throughout the groups dealerships to ensure customers affected by autism receive a positive experience.
Within the showrooms there will be several changes including autism literature, pre-visit information made available and the provision of sensory packs including ear defenders and fidget toys. Each dealership will also have a quiet area as well as a designated Quiet Autism Evening once per week.
Jeff McCartney, Group Sales Director at Charles Hurst, said the company were very proud to have achieved the accreditation.
“We are delighted to receive this award - it is very important that we recognise the individual needs of our customers and value each one equally. We fully appreciate purchasing a vehicle can be a difficult and daunting experience for a person, parent or guardian who is affected by autism and so we want to do everything we can to ensure it is a positive experience".
“We are delighted to support this important initiative and our accreditation from Autism NI is just one of many disability friendly practices we are introducing. We are working alongside several other Northern Ireland based organisations and charities to ensure our staff are skilled in providing a first-class experience to all our customers.”
Charles Hurst are also implementing other disability and condition friendly practices throughout the company including training staff in disability confidence, sign language and JAM card awareness.
For further information about Charles Hurst practices please visit: www.charleshurstgroup.co.uk/motability/